By Rochelle Maruch Miller
Nestled in the heart of Central Avenue like a precious gem, the Jeweler’s Wife affords shoppers a visually aesthetic shopping experience. Featuring a stellar selection of beautiful jewelry plus signature service, TJW is truly a Five Towns treasure.
We recently caught up with Simone Ambalo, TJW’s personable owner. In this exclusive interview, she takes us behind the scenes at TJW.
RMM: Simone, what inspired you to launch The Jeweler’s Wife?
SA: My husband has been in the jewelry business for the last 20 years as a manufacturer with a factory in New York City and also around the world. I knew I wanted to do something with jewelry; I just hadn’t yet decided what. One Shabbos, Ami Simantov of Simantov Jewelry was davening in Aish Kodesh, where my husband is an active member. While walking home after shul, Mr. Simantov explained that he was making aliyah to Israel and wanted to sell the store. That was on Shabbos. By the following Monday, I owned a jewelry store.
RMM: What makes The Jeweler’s Wife unique?
SA: We have something for everyone. When my husband bought the store, his vision and my vision were very different. He manufactures high-quality goods and thought that he would be the one supplying the merchandise for the store. Yes, I still do have pieces from him and I send customers to him all the time. However, I felt that we needed diversity and affordability in the neighborhood. Not everyone can walk into a store and spend a few hundred dollars on a purchase; therefore, I have a wider price range.
Another quality that makes TJW unique is that we treat everyone the same. Whether you are making a $75 purchase or a purchase for several hundred dollars, we still treat everyone alike. I like to think that TJW is not your usual jewelry store. Sammy, who has been working with me for the last ten months, says that we are more personable than your average store. We remember customers and try to remember their likes. However, we are very conscious not to be pushy. Another aspect that makes us different and more personable is that we let customers take pieces home to show their husbands, mothers, etc. We have many women who will come in, choose two pieces of jewelry, which we will put aside in order for their husbands to purchase the items for them—sort of like a gift registry.
RMM: What are the latest trends in jewelry?
SA: Trends in jewelry are always changing; however, color in jewelry has been big for a while. Jewelry is like clothing in terms of what’s popular. The new Pantone color of the year is “Marsala”—a naturally robust and earthy wine red. We will be seeing lots of pieces in that color range. Big pieces are very hot right now, big necklaces and earrings. Because trends are always changing, a lot of our trendier pieces are very affordable. You don’t feel as if you are ‘breaking the bank’ to buy that trendy ring or other piece of jewelry.
RMM: How do you stay on-trend?
SA: The jewelry industry is constantly coming out with styles and new names for those styles from cocktail rings to knuckle rings to statement earrings. I am always looking out for new styles and I try to attend all of the major jewelry shows. I do have an advantage, being that my husband has been in the jewelry business for the last 20 years and has been a supplier to major retailers.
RMM: How has TJW evolved since its inception?
SA: TJW has changed a lot since we opened. Because I didn’t have much planning time before opening the store, it became a learning experience. Right before opening, Hurricane Sandy struck. On the Sunday before Sandy, I was on my way to the city to attend a jewelry show; however, it was closing due to the expected hurricane. Some of my merchandise was supposed to be purchased and picked up at the show. I feel that any business is a learning experience—learning what customers like and what works well.
RMM: From a personal perspective, shopping at TJW is such an enjoyable experience; the store is gorgeous and the service is impeccable. As TJW’s owner, what do you find most rewarding?
SA: One of the most rewarding aspects of owning TJW is that when an institution asks for a donation of jewelry, I am able to give it happily. I am also able to lend certain pieces that I have put aside for simchot and other special occasions when people can’t afford to buy something. I am also involved with a gemach that lends jewelry to kallahs.
RMM: What makes TJW the gift source of choice?
SA: TJW has something for everyone. It’s easy to find the perfect Chanukah gift here without breaking the bank. This is what I pride myself on and what makes TJW stand out from the other jewelry stores on the Avenue. We have the nicest, most original pieces on the Avenue.
RMM: Simone, it’s always a pleasure to chat with you. What message would you like to convey to our readers?
SA: One message I must convey is how important it is to support local business on Central Avenue. It’s amazing how many people will run to other neighborhoods to purchase the same item that we have on Central Avenue. A few weeks ago a customer came in to purchase a Michele watch. The customer was so surprised that not only am I an authorized dealer but that I discount them as much or more than the stores in Brooklyn. All you have to do is ask. It’s so important to support local stores on Central Avenue. These stores are mostly locally owned, myself included. When people patronize neighborhood stores, they are essentially giving money back into the community, which, in turn, strengthens the economy in our neighborhood, making for a great place to live and raise our children.
The Jeweler’s Wife is located at 510 Central Avenue in Cedarhurst. For further information, please call 516-295-6300.
By Rochelle Maruch Miller